Recipe: Basil Pesto, your mid-summer essential
Mildly sweet and utterly delicious, the humble basil plant has been used in food for centuries. The perfect accompaniment to any protein or carb, this wonderfully easy recipe will leave you wanting more.
Refreshing as a dip or tossed in pasta, the creamy nuttiness of a good pesto is the perfect accompaniment to a light, mid-summer meal. Squeeze ample lemon over your pesto for a zesty surprise that cuts through the richness like knife through butter. Basil can be substituted with baby spinach or rocket for a more bitter taste. To stretch your pesto, store it in an airtight container with a little bit of oil on top to seal out all the air and retain the gorgeous green colour.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts/almonds)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Squeeze of lemon
Place the basil leaves and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times. Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
2 While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Stir in some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Squeeze a little bit of lemon into your pesto for a summery zing.